Lessons from a first time Entrepreneur

Lessons from a first time Entrepreneur

My guest blogger this week is Sara Ismail founder of Trip for Wellness.

Born and raised in Portugal, with an academic background in Business Administration and Marketing and after having worked in multinationals in Portugal and abroad, Sara decided to launch Tripforwellness.com – a boutique niche travel agency fully specialized in spa and well-being programs.

I am delighted to say that Sara will participate in the Female Start-Up Panel at WTM Women in Travel Meet Up 2016

Spa & Wellbeing Travel in Portugal – First time Entrepreneur!

After some years of experience in the corporate and multinational world I cannot help my self-weighing the pros and cons of running my own business. With great freedom comes great responsibility but undoubtedly being in control of your professional fate and being able to set the pace and rhythm of work is something I value dearly. In the end, although there are several factors we cannot control: “Dreams don’t work unless you do”.  There are certainly many days when I feel overwhelmed but I also feel equally motivated to jump out of bed and tackle all the tasks I have ahead of me, feeling a sense of empowerment and accomplishment each time a task is successfully crossed from the list – “The day is full but cool”.

Last year I founded Trip for Wellness – an online portal to find, compare and book Spa, Wellness & Healthy Holidays in Portugal. The first aggregator portal in this niche segment in the country. So why Spa & Wellness and why in Portugal?

According to the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness travel is a niche growing market that combines the benefits of travelling – which enables us to disconnect from everyday life and widens our perspectives with the possibility of engaging in a structured well-being program and learn a new set of rules to help build and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

As for Portugal, besides being born and raised in the country I realized that there is more than the mild climate, the unique cultural heritage – one of the oldest countries in Europe with several Unesco sites, the superb Mediterranean healthy cuisine – Portuguese diet is classified as intangible cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco, the diverse landscapes, the fabulous world renowned beaches and Golf courses. There is also variety of upscale hotels, resorts and beach resorts with excellent infrastructures in terms of Spa & Wellness, gymnasiums and outdoor fitness & sports. A smart value for money choice with potential to be better communicated and promoted.

Trip for Wellness is the first online local travel operator fully specialized in Spa & Wellness Programs offering a variety Packages in carefully selected Hotels & Resorts throughout Portugal such as Beach & Nature Spa Break, Thermal Spa, Fitness holidays, Detox, Weight loss, Medical & Health Spa.

Recently I was in Dubai for the Arabian Travel Market, as one of the selected tourism start-ups to represent the “Visit Portugal” stand. There I had the chance to attend the Women in travel workshop and here I am three months later sharing my experience. I look forward for the Women in Travel meetup in London and to be able share and contribute towards some of the event’s goals – inspire each other in the quest of professional fulfilment.

Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she ran between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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